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First Edition Cycling News, Monday, July 5, 2010

Date published:
July 05, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • HTC-Columbia beset by crashes

    Adam Hansen (HTC - Columbia) feels the effects of riding much of stage one with a broken collarbone.
    Article published:
    July 04, 2010, 20:28 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Hansen worst off with suspected broken collarbone

    Team HTC-Columbia was hit by a number of crashes on stage 1 of the Tour de France on Sunday, with Mark Cavendish, Michael Rogers and Adam Hansen all hitting the deck. Hansen came off worst, finishing the stage but later being taken to hospital with a suspected broken collarbone.

    Mark Renshaw rescued some success for the team, and finished second on the stage behind winner Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-Farnese Vini).

    "It was a big loss for us today," said Renshaw. "Cavendish wanted the points for the green jersey and it was a bit of a roller coaster. I'm really happy to get second and come so close to winning a stage in the Tour but it's difficult for us with Cavendish not getting any points. It's not a good day in the end.

    "With one kilometre and a half to go the whole race was turned upside down. Once I heard the crash we had to totally rearrange. I moved into the sprinter role and at that stage usually I'm used to going with 500 meters to go and I had to wait. Unfortunately the training I've done isn't going to let me get over Petacchi."

    The team's GC contender Michael Rogers also came down in a crash near the finish, but despite a grazed elbow managed to pick himself up. Crashing in the final kilometre meant he lost no time and so still sits in 14th place overall.

    "I got out of the crash but someone hit me from behind. Fortunately, I'm not really injured at all. At the Tour de France some people think they can sprint but they can't!"

    However, the biggest disappointment could be Hansen. The 29-year-old Australian, one of the most respected domestiques in the peloton, missed last year's Tour due to a broken collarbone. Earlier in today's stage he crashed and immediately began holding the same left collarbone, which already has nine screws in it.

    Hansen managed to get back on his bike and even began working for Cavendish later in the stage. At the finish he was quickly rushed to hospital but Hansen confirmed...

  • Freire down, but uninjured

    Cavendish and Freire have some words as they cross the line.
    Article published:
    July 04, 2010, 20:44 BST
    Hedwig Kröner

    Spaniard criticizes riders' positioning in sprint finales

    Oscar Freire (Rabobank) was one of the sprinters who could not take advantage of stage one's final bunch sprint in Brussels on Sunday, as he crashed with just two kilometres to go.

    The crash in the tight right-hand bend, the last before the finishing straight, also brought down Mark Cavendish from HTC-Columbia, Jeremy Hunt (Cervélo TestTeam) and another rider from Lampre-Farnese Vini. It appeared to be Cavendish who was first to misjudge the corner, losing his teammate Mark Renshaw's wheel to the left and triggering the crash.

    Freire, who like Cavendish did not sustain any injuries from the fall, said that he couldn't remember who caused the fall. "The last kilometres were very fast," he said at the finish. "It was a difficult curve, I didn't think it was that tight towards the end. One rider went into it a bit faster than the others, and this triggered the crash. But I don't remember who it was."

    The fall effectively ended both sprinters' chances of a victory in what was a very hectic finale into Brussels, but not a particularly dangerous finish. Asked what were the factors that caused riders to lose control of their bikes, Freire said, "The first day is always very nervous, and the directors make them even more nervous through the earpiece radio. Then, some people don't know where they belong. A lot of these crashes happen because of that."

    The Spaniard added that the riders not leading out a sprint, and even those going for general classification, should distance themselves from the top of the field in order to make it less crowded.

    "Maybe some of the leaders, once they've inside the two last kilometres, should maybe fall back a bit more than they do," he said. "It's still better to lose one or two seconds than all the Tour."

    Fortunately, nobody got hurt in their crash today. The three-time world champion as well as the Manxman will thus again be able to try for a fast finish victory soon, and Freire said...

  • Procycling's daily Tour de France dispatch: Stage 1

    Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-Farnese Vini) survived late-race carnage to win his first Tour stage in seven years.
    Article published:
    July 04, 2010, 21:22 BST

    Briefs on McEwen, Wiggins, Footon, Millar and Evans

    Masters of not crashing

    If Alessandro Petacchi is turning into the master of avoiding the crashes, spare a thought for Robbie McEwen. The green jersey triple winner, who finished fourth in Stage 1, is a master bike handler, and said if you thought Sunday was eventful, just wait another 48 hours for some colossal cobbled madness.

    "I went across to the right and a guy from AG2R [ Lloyd Mondory - ed.], he crashed almost straight on me – I don't know how I managed to get past him," McEwen said. "There'll be more chances tomorrow [Stage 2]. It's a difficult stage. Then on the one across the cobbles [Stage 3], you'll see way more carnage than you've seen today."

    Wiggins prologue: difference of opinions

    Brad Wiggins's assessment of his 77th place in Saturday's prologue couldn't have contrasted more jarringly with L'Equipe's verdict. A performance that Wiggins judged satisfactory was described as "colossally poor" in the French newspaper's Sunday edition.

    What everyone seemed to agree on was that Wiggins had ridden with excessive caution on a route made tricky rather than treacherous by the rain on Saturday afternoon. Repeated warnings by the Team Sky staff not to "do a Boardman" - in other words crash out like former hour recordman Chris in Saint-Brieuc in 1995 – probably didn't help The Wigg's cause. Or his nerves for that matter.

    Young blood, literally

    Footon-Servetto lined up at this year's Tour with not a single rider boasting previous experience in the Grande Boucle. The team's Spanish directeur sportif, Matxin Fernandez, told Procycling on Sunday morning that his gold lamé longshots were at the Tour to "attack all the time, get into breaks, and generally spice up the racing."

    Matxin added that it "doesn't matter how many riders we take to Paris, whether it's five, six or eight." Far be it from us to suggest that...

  • Basso not worried after crashing

    Ivan Basso (Liquigas - Doimo) receives assistance from his team car following a crash.
    Article published:
    July 04, 2010, 22:36 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    Giro champion impressed with spectator turnout

    Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Doimo) crashed after 55 kilometres of racing in stage 1 of the Tour de France. David Millar, too, hit the tarmac with Basso but both riders got back on their bikes and finished the stage.

    "It happened because of a dog who run into the peloton and I didn't see him coming," Basso told Cyclingnews after crossing the finish line. "Another rider crashed in front of me but I couldn't avoid him. There were other crashes at the end of the stage but I had no problem with it. I came home safe."

    Despite crashing in the Tour's first road stage, the 32-year-old Italian was in good spirits as he stepped onto the his team bus. "It was a very competitive stage today but it was a great spectacle also from the bunch," Basso said. "For us, to watch all these enthusiastic people alongside the road was fantastic. I wouldn't say that I've never seen so many spectators before because the crowd in the first three days of the Giro d'Italia was great as well. But I have a special feeling for this Tour de France."

    Basso said at the end of this year's Giro d'Italia that his suspension in 2007 and 2008 has made him think a lot about himself and his career. Anything he does now as a cyclist he appreciates more than before the troubles he experienced through Operacion Puerto. "The ice is finally broken," he said after completing the prologue in Rotterdam on Saturday in 72nd position, 55 seconds down on Fabian Cancellara, a gap he predicted.

    "Believe me, I have enjoyed the day before the start of the Tour de France like I didn't when I rode it for the first time in my career," Basso wrote in his column for Il Giornale. "At the worst times of my suspension, I thought many times about how my comeback would be. In reality, the question to myself was: will I go back to the Tour one day? And the answer was: no.

    "Pessimism was dominant in my mind. Then the wind has changed direction. And I'm happy to be back here. For a...

  • Glorious ride for Wynants

    Lars Boom (Rabobank), Maarten Wynants (Quick Step) and Alan Perez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) made the Tour's first break of the year.
    Article published:
    July 05, 2010, 0:39 BST
    Hedwig Kröner

    Belgian scores combativity prize in doomed breakaway

    Maarten Wynants from the Quick Step team was a happy man at the finish of stage one in Brussels, even though he rode all day in a breakaway only to be caught nine kilometres away from the finish line by a raging peloton.

    Wynants was part of a three-rider escape which got off as soon as the start flag was waved. The 28-year-old followed when Dutchman Lars Boom (Rabobank) jumped, accompanied by Alan Perez (Euskaltel). "It wasn't really planned to break away today, but Lars Boom came to me before the start and asked if I wanted to go on a breakaway with him. I said, 'Why not?'," Wynants recalled at the finish.

    The Belgian had a great time racing in front, he said, as conditions on his home roads were perfect and the crowds had flocked to cheer them on. Moreover, Wynants' wife and daughter were at the border from the Netherlands to Belgium, in the town of Puttekappelle, waiting for him as he entered his home country.

    "Of course, I knew that when the gap got to seven minutes and started coming down again that it would be very hard to hold off the bunch in the finale," he said. "But it was still a great feeling to ride through Belgium with so many spectators alongside the road."

    The sprinters' teams were putting on a fast pace as the finish in Brussels was the first opportunity for them to organise a bunch sprint. Even though it was clear to Wynants his odds of remaining away weren't great, he didn't discount the possibility of winning the stage.

    "You have to use every opportunity to go in an escape. Maybe in five days, you could also win in a break. Of course, it's not possible to try it every day. But today seemed a good moment."

    On top of getting precious TV time for his Belgian team on home roads, Wynants attacked several times in the finale as he had a red back number on his mind. "In the end, I wanted to take a maximum advantage of my day out, and hoped to get the prize for the most combative rider by attacking...

  • Reactions from the Tour's first stage

    Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-Farnese Vini) lets out his emotions after winning the sprint
    Article published:
    July 05, 2010, 3:08 BST
    Cycling News

    Wind, crowds, crashes and the return of an old name

    Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Doimo) - 91st on stage, 70th overall @ 55 seconds: "I hit my right knee, causing an abrasion and a bruise. In the heat of the incident it didn't appear to cause me any particular concern, even though the patella is a delicate spot: I hope I won't suffer discomfort in the coming days.

    Falling is never pleasant, especially after two days of racing, but I'll remain calm. The streets and the other heights of racing are two difficulties that I had highlighted in these early stages; we hope we won't race through other risks in the coming days."

    Adam Hansen (HTC-Columbia) - 190th on stage, abandoned due to crash: "I'm extremely disappointed. I was really looking forward to this tour and I'm upset now that they have to continue with only eight riders.

    "It was one of those freak crashes. I briefly saw something on the road before I hit it and my bike skid across the field. Most riders managed to avoid me but at the last second I hit the back wheel of another rider and went down."

    Thor Hushovd (Cervélo TestTeam) - third on stage, 153rd overall @ 1:19: "Everyone wants to stay at the front, whether or not you're a sprinter.

    "The roads were very narrow, that's why there were a lot of crashes, but I was able to avoid them and I was still third, so it was OK. It was hard, really hard. I am up there for the green jersey, so I am happy."

    Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-Farnese Vini) - stage winner, 38th overall @ 48 seconds: "I'm back at Tour de France and immediately I win a stage: I couldn't ask for more!

    "I want to thank my team mates that performed outstanding in my support on this stage. I knew I was good because yesterday I had good feelings in the prologue, so I decided to start the sprint early despite the wind. This victory is for all the team sponsors."

    Brett Lancaster (Cervélo TestTeam) - 26th on...

  • Plucky Pliushin waves Moldova's colours at Tour

    Alexandr Pliushin (Katusha)
    Article published:
    July 05, 2010, 6:10 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    Katusha's rookie shows he has the makings of a champion

    For the first time in the history of the Tour de France, the Moldovan national champion's jersey has been seen at the front of the race.

    Alexandr Pliushin showed his fighting spirit when he jumped from the peloton on to Quick Step's Martijn Wijnants who was the only rider left from the three-man breakaway that opened the road for most of stage with Rabobank's Lars Boom Alan Perez of Euskaltel. Pliushin's attacking style was on show between 25km to go until nine kilometres before the finishing line in Brussels.

    "I had seen some riders at the head of the peloton, notably with Astana moving up to the front. I hesitated but then I've said to myself: I'll go," the 23-year-old from Katusha told Cyclingnews after the finish.

    "It's a pity that the guy with me in the lead was cooked after so many kilometres at the front already. We needed a one-minute lead. There was a lot of headwind as well. So it was hard to stay up there for longer but I would have liked to stay there until five kilometres to go."

    Pliushin discovered a new world when he started the Tour de France for the first time just two days ago, explaining, "There were a lot of people with an incredible atmosphere. But I want to think that the Tour de France is a bike race like the others.

    "I will try to break away again but it's a long race and I've learnt that patience is the way to succeed. I will not attack every day," he added.

    Pliushin got the call for the Tour de France Katusha team after he rode a convincing Tour de Suisse. "My condition has grown progressively," he told Cyclingnews before the teams' presentation on Thursday. "The team is confident in me, so I'll do my best for my leaders," he said, referring to cimbers Joaquin Rodriguez and Vladimir Karpets, who are Katusha's men for the general classification.

    Pliushin moved to the Russian outfit from Ag2r-La Mondiale where he started his pro career two years ago. "It's better for my...

  • Bont to release Hushovd signature shoe

    Bont has launched a Thor Hushovd signature shoe to celebrate the Norwegian’s success.
    Article published:
    July 05, 2010, 8:04 BST
    Greg Johnson

    Norwegian champion’s success celebrated

    Australian cycling shoe manufacturer Bont has launched a Thor Hushovd signature shoe to celebrate the Norwegian’s success. Hushovd, the defending Tour de France green jersey, won his national road championship race in late June.

    Based off Bont’s top of the line a-one model, the signature shoe features the red, blue and white of Norway’s national flag. Bont Cycling CEO Steven Nemeth told Cyclingnews the shoe came as a result of Hushovd’s long, successful career.

    “It’s there to celebrate Thor,” said Nemeth. “He’s added the national championship to his list of accomplishments, so this is really just to celebrate his achievements.”

    Hushovd has won eight stages of the Tour during his career, and the event’s points jersey on two occasions. He has won stages at the Vuelta a España and Giro d’Italia, as well as Spring Classics Gent-Wevelgem and Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. Following his victory last month, Hushovd has won the Norwegian road championship on two occasions, matching his win tally in the national time trial championship event.

    The Hushovd signature shoe will be priced similarly to the standard a-one and is available by order.